FLY-TIPPING has cost the taxpayer more than £170,000 to clear up across Dorset.

During 2016, local authorities across Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth received 5,930 reports of rubbish having deliberately been abandoned at the roadside, at beauty spots and public land all at a huge cost to the public.

Last year, employees of the Dorset Waste Partnership dealt with 2,417 incidents, excluding Bournemouth and Poole, at an estimated cost of £130,813.

The same employees dealt with 258 incidents at Christchurch at an estimated cost of £13,265.

In Bournemouth, council officers received reports of 1,870 incidents of fly-tipping which was cleared up at a cost of £26,830.

Poole officers were alerted to 1,385 incidents but the estimated cost is unknown.

Despite claims that Britain is in the grip of a fly-tipping epidemic - according to Keep Britain Tidy campaigners - Dorset saw a decrease in the number of incidents during 2016 compared to the previous year, according to local authorities.

Gemma Clinton, head of service (Strategy) for the Dorset Waste Partnership, said: “We are aware that fly-tipping incidents are on the rise in Dorset, which is in line with national trends.

“However it’s worth noting that, based on size and type of each fly-tip, the estimated cost to clear these across the county was actually down on the previous year.

“There is no excuse for fly-tipping.

“It is easy to recycle at the kerbside.

“Household recycling centres and bring banks are open across Dorset every day.

“Commercial traders have a legal responsibility to dispose of their waste correctly and residents have a duty of care to ensure who they are handing their rubbish to is licensed to carry it.

“Fly-tipping is criminal behaviour and we will continue to work in partnership with Dorset residents to investigate this anti-social activity and take action whenever we can.”

Stuart Best, street services manager for Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “We work hard to carefully monitor and report fly-tipping, taking action to clear and investigate any reported incidents within our delegated powers.

“The estimated cost for the removal and disposal of fly-tipped waste in 2016 is in the region of £26,000, however the amount of incidents reported has decreased in the last year.”

Borough of Poole were unable to provide a comment on the matter, at the time of going to press.

Environmentalist Peter Ryan, founder of the Dorset Devils - a group of voluntary litter-pickers - said: “There is no excuse for dumping in any areas.

“It is a criminal act that impacts environmentally as well as financially on our beautiful countryside.

“Money that is being spent on this could be used to more social effect. “

He added: “It is a waste of resources - there is no doubt about that.”